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Sony FDR-X1000V: Better than GoPro?
  • Testing sites agree that the 4K video from the Sony FDR X1000V has noticeably higher resolution than that from the GoPro Hero 4 Black, and that this is in part due to the higher bitrate (100Mbps versus 50 or 60 Mbps).

    The Sony also has other advantages over the GoPro:

    1. You can use it without the waterproof case, and it still has water resistance. The body has a standard tripod hole. The GoPro outside the waterproof case cannot be mounted on anything without an extra cost frame, and it is not weather resistant at all.

    2. The Sony built-in mic is stereo, and the audio recording in XAVC S mode is uncompressed and higher (in specs) than CD quality. The fact that you can use the camera without the waterproof housing, even in the rain, also means that the audio will not be muffled.

    3. Digital stabilization in HD mode.

    4. Buit-in GPS (accurate time automatically).

    5. Time code.

    The attributes that are worse:

    1. Lower dynamic range, although this has not been as systematically tested, with most reviewers using the default Sony ‘Vivid’ color setting, which ups saturation and contrast (crushed blacks). It may be that in “Natural’ mode the dynamic range is better.

    2. Bluish tint (as opposed to the GoPro yellow tint).

    I have also found that the Sony, like all darn Sony cameras, overexposes. That can contribute to blown highlights and video that looks like it has low dynamic range.

    Indeed, the out-of-camera 4K video does not look very good, precisely because of overexposure and the blue. But both can be corrected, either in post or by using AE shift in the camera along with manual WB.

    I shot a test video in 4K at 100Mbps using the Sony in its default modes. I was horrified by the video. But, by merely reducing luminance and correcting WB in post (using a white reference) I thought the resulting video looked very good. The video was shot while it was raining and used without the waterproof case (you can hear the drops and see in one clip a droplet on the lens). The audio quality can be assessed as well, with passing cars (l to r) and bird calls and songs.

    Here is the test video I shot and edited (as described above - no grading, just correcting):

    To give an idea of the difference between the ooc video and the end result, here are two frame grabs: one from the ooc video and the other corrected in post (from the uploaded video):

    ooc:

    http://i849.photobucket.com/albums/ab56/markr041/Sony%20Action%20Cam%202_zpsn7eo6xbo.jpg

    Corrected:

    http://i849.photobucket.com/albums/ab56/markr041/Sony%20Action%20Cam%202a_zpsyozelqlr.jpg

  • 22 Replies sorted by
  • I have shot a video, using ev -.3, in bright sunlight with the Sony. The video required almost no post-processing, and the colors and dynamic range look good:

    I had also shot a video using the GoPro Hero 4 Black in the same setting and similar light:

  • I have actually considered a GoPro, not for its go-anywhere thing, but to shoot wide-angles without buying an expensive lens (correcting distortion in post). But that Sony footage looks better.

  • Slow motion from 1080 120P @ 100Mbps

  • It's getting hard to keep of the names of all these camcorders. They should name them after superheroes. The Green Lantern, Ant-Man, Wonder Woman.

  • Could you do a test with 1080p60 plus active stabiliser ? I am thinking of using this as a car cam for filming. perhaps 1080p60 + active stabilizer + slowed to 1080p25 would be stable enough.

  • @ markr041 - I love that locked-down look. It conveys that lazy summer feeling.

  • I saw footage with the X1000V on the Dji Phantom 2. Could someone please mention the mounting solution that was used ?

  • In the waterproof case. Why better than GoPro? - the audio even in the case nicely picks up, in stereo, the rain sounds, the sound cars make as they travel on wet roads (from right to left and left to right), and the leaves rustling in the wind. Not a muffled, mono mush.

  • Three things that bother me about the action cam: - no streaming replay of taken footage: you have to copy the entire clip on your phone/tablet - fast changes in the picture are encoded pixely (like quick shade/sunlight changes when you drive/ride under trees) - shitty auto-gain-control input compared to gopro

  • "Three things that bother me about the action cam: - no streaming replay of taken footage: you have to copy the entire clip on your phone/tablet - fast changes in the picture are encoded pixely (like quick shade/sunlight changes when you drive/ride under trees) - shitty auto-gain-control input compared to gopro."

    All of these statements seem odd, and two are untrue.

    1. With the standard wrist lcd, you can stream any video to view and can delete. You can also do that with your phone or tablet (Android; I do not know about Apple). No downloading or copying needed to review and delete videos on the camera in the field.

    2. The camcorder records 4K at 100 Mbps, same processor, codec and bitrate as the Sony AX100 (with updated firmware). That is also a bitrate that is 67% higher than the highest bitrate of the GoPro Hero 4 Black. Is the pixelization you see in the stream or from the downloaded 4K video? High bitrate recording is one the main advantages of the Sony over the GoPro.

    3. The autogain on the Sony X1000V is minimal. I can see the dynamics quiet clearly in the wave forms when I edit and I do not hear any pumping up of audio in quiet parts. Again, the stereo audio quality from the Sony is one of the best features (and I hate aggressive AGC) and is substantially better than the audio from any GoPro. What makes you think the agc is bad on the Sony? This seems totally wrong.

    Listen to the rain video above - you will hear subtle sounds of rustling leaves and rain drops and the crescendo and decrescendo as cars drive by, all of which would be flattened by agc.